Ableton Push is a “highly intuitive and fresh new musical instrument”

Certified Ableton instructor Antonio Sage writes about his experiences with Ableton Push and Live 9:

I cannot recall the last time a device had been so highly anticipated as Ableton Push.

With good reason. Push is not only a sleek, beautiful control surface for Ableton’s newly released version 9 but it is also a highly intuitive and fresh new musical instrument. It’s touch sensitive multi-color grid is specifically designed to eliminate the barriers that get in the way of the flow of the initial creative process. Push not only facilitates the search for the right sounds (and with Live 9’s suite including 3000 + sounds there is plenty to choose from) it also features an amazing system for almost foolproof note entry and improvisation.

I have heard and at times agreed with folks that feel musicality in the past decade has somewhat suffered. They feel that the values of study and practice have been replaced by gimmicks. “Pro Tooling” and “Autotuning” have become synonymous with a manufactured sound recording that sometimes translates poorly onstage. With Push you can choose to play in a certain scale or mode eliminating the possibility of playing the wrong note. At first glance this too might seem like cheating but there is a difference. With Push the musician can also learn about scales and modes by being able to recognize and executing note combinations familiar to the ear but previously only reserved for expert musicians. With dedication and practice there is no limit to what can be played. This newfound freedom could encourage the kind of experimentation needed to create new musical territories.

Will there be haters that will regard Push as a crutch and criticize its ease of use as further disregard of the classic values? Yes, I think so. One thing that sparks my imagination about the future of music now are the compositions that will eventually materialize as a result of putting these tools at the fingertips of highly creative individuals. Now boring overused chord progressions will be substituted by interesting, exotic and perhaps never heard progressions. Let’s now imagine that kind of power in the hands of the next Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, etc. Perhaps a bit like the first time they were given a piano.

As a certified Ableton instructor, I am proud to be at the starting line of this revolution. If music is indeed the universal language, perhaps we will all be able to communicate more effectively and maybe Ableton’s Push might just make this world a better place.

Meet Antonio at the next SF-EMM monthly meetup on Wednesday, April 10 at SAE Institute (450 Bryant St. #100, San Francisco, CA).

Next meetup featuring Dave Smith Instruments with Carson Day! Wednesday March 13, 2013!

It’s just a couple of weeks away! You MUST come to this amazing presentation featuring Carson Day of Dave Smith Instruments who will be demoing LIVE the all-new Prophet 12 polyphonic synthesizer. He will also have DSI’s Mopho x4 and a Tetra.

Come hear the demo, participate in the Q&A, and stay for the awesome projects from your own SF-EMM members. SPACE IS LIMITED, so RSVP now via our group:

More information:

Serge Modular demo at the February 13th Meetup!

Dmitri from COA-Modular has agreed to come to our February 13th Meetup to discuss the Serge Modular and the workshops they are doing at Robotspeak on the third Saturday of every month (starting in February). This is a great opportunity to learn how to build your own Serge Modular and also hear what it sounds like and how these monsters actually work.

Here are some of the topics Dmitri will be speaking about:

– Why they call the 1970s Serge “The People’s Synthesizer”/Brief local history of the Serge Modular Synth.
– What’s so different or cool about The Serge ?
– What they offer at their workshops / how you can get one.

We look forward to seeing you there and don’t forget to bring some music your wrote to share. In the meantime check out COA-Modular at these links:

Intro to Renoise

At last nights meetup there was a lot of people using Renoise to produce music and an equal amount of people that had never heard of it or used it. Below is an introduction video to Renoise and you can also click here to see the main overview on the Renoise website.

Added bonus: Check out this article from Create Digital Music about artist Dkon and an album he did using only a Korg Poly 800 and Renoise.

New Elektron Analog Four

The new Analog Four from Elektron was a topic of discussion at November’s meeting. Musician DataLine has a couple of videos demonstrating the A4’s abilities, just in time for the December 3rd shipping date. I for one am seriously considering pairing this up with my Dave Smith Tempest.

Portishead’s “Dummy” played by SFRMA at GMAH, Mon Oct 29

Coming up on Monday October 29 is the San Francisco Roots Music Association (SFMRA) performance of Portishead’s amazing “Dummy” album. They’ll giving the Great American Music Hall (GMAH) a trip-hop bath. Better yet, SF-EMM member Antonio Sage is laying down the bass in the band!

Go check it out and get tickets before they sell out:

Buy tickets:
Portishead event:

3rd Annual Moog Circuit Bending Challenge!

This just in!

Wake up, Benders, Modders, and Hardware Hackers; it’s time for the third annual Moog Circuit Bending Challenge! … This year’s contest is to create a circuit bent sampler. Film your bend process and a musical performance with your final creation. The device … must be able to take samples on the fly with no computer interface needed. Also, the sampler must be solely populated with sounds from Google’s amazing Moog Doodle. Get the Doodle here.

More info: